Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Running and Me

". . . Running hurts, it always has. It teaches us that good things do not come easy. It teaches us that we are capable of more than what we think. It teaches us that hard work will be rewarded . . . Don't expect to learn those life lessons from jogging. Next time you suffer on the roads, suffer proudly. You just RAN!"

I saw this quote from an unknown author today on another blog and had to steal it. It made me smile and reminded me of many of the life metaphors I have discovered through my running. It also made me chuckle because non-runners may be unaware of this, but there is not much worse you can say to a "runner" than, "Hey, I saw you out jogging the other day." True your speed may have been no faster than a jog, but the word is painful -- it somehow implies laziness, ease, and lack of any real effort. It changes what you were doing from significant to pointless. Not that there is no value in someone going for a jog, mind you, it is just that when you think you are running, the word "jogging" is just depressing to hear.

When I was a Freshman in high school I tried out for, and didn't make, the volleyball team. I was crushed. To my limited ninth grade perspective, it seemed the end of the world. It was a horrible embarrassment. If you weren't going to be a cheerleader, then volleyball or soccer were the only other roads to potential coolness, and most of my friends had made the team.

The poor Cross Country coaches, on the other hand, were always trying to increase their numbers, and with no try outs necessary, were only too happy to grab onto those of us who had failed to make other more popular teams. So, despondent and disappointed, I fell back on running. I was good at running. While I didn't run more than the required distances through most of high school, it gave me confidence and involved me in something. I ended up getting the "Gold Watch Athlete of the Year" award at the end of my senior year. It was based on a number of things including number of times placing in state competitions. That maybe wasn't fair, since it is far more easy to place in state when you are participating in multiple individual events (cross country, then hurdles and the 400 during track season) than it is in one large team event like basketball. Still, running helped define me during those high school years and has been one of the few things I have managed to continue doing over the years. To this day, I count that initial volleyball disappointment one of the luckiest blessings of my life.

I have only run three marathons (spaced over ten years), but if you consider that during those same ten years I have also spent 45 months preparing each of these five for the world:





And if you then consider that those pregnancies have also meant countless months of nursing, waking up at nights, and simply trying to find care for them each and EVERY time I want to run, well, then that is fairly impressive.

I have a new goal in mind. It was Mike's idea initially because, while he can't be home as much as I'd like to make running opportunities for me, he is always very supportive. I want to run the Boston Marathon next Spring. Do you know how exciting that would be for me? There are over 20,000 runners. It is hard to explain the excitement in the air at any race, especially a marathon, but to run one that is kind of considered THEE marathon and to be able to have other runners around me the entire race and the roads lined with people for most of the 26.2 miles would be seriously such an amazing experience for me. I would love it. Still, I likely never would have considered it if it weren't for the fact that Mike's parent's are serving a mission in Boston. This would give us the perfect chance to visit them and give me the perfect opportunity to make something so big actually work.

The only catch is, I will need to qualify. I have beat the time necessary to qualify by a full ten minutes in the past, but times are only good for a year, and while I assume I can do it fine again, I've never had a "bad" marathon, and over 26 miles, even a 20 second slow down per mile could ruin my chances. Still, I am planning to run the Top of Utah Marathon this September in hopes that it will be sending me to Boston!



The difficulty, more than running the qualifying time, will be the training. It is frustrating to me because while some people have the time to run, but lack the motivation, I WANT to be running, but seldom have a great opportunity. Obviously I will simply have to make the opportunities, but it won't be easy. It will mean figuring how to go at 5:45 am when I am still up at night with a four month old -- a four month old that often ends up in bed with me during the night and who wakes up the minute I try to pull away from him. It will mean running at nights when the kids are down and Mike is finally home. I love love raising my kids, but those few precious hours from 8:00 pm on are my only time to be with Mike and relax, so giving up some of those hours isn't going to be easy. If I could just run at 7:00 each morning or drop the kids at school and run, it would be so simple for me, and I admit to feeling rather jealous of those who don't have to juggle so much to be able to get out. But I have chosen to have these loads of little people surrounding me. They are my responsibility and my most precious of all things.

So, here is to hoping and hoping my motivation and the fates will align to make this work. Heaven knows it won't be long before I feel that there is another little spirit looking down saying, "Hey, what about me!? I know you are stressed, but I am planning on being yours too." So, if I could just have this year to reclaim my body even just a little bit, to run two marathons in a year (one of them being such an exciting one), and to find the ways to train as hard as I'd like (I'm hoping for five days a week), I will feel so so grateful and blessed. I just want this really badly. I'm gearing up mentally because if I am serious, my training needs to start in May. The running itself isn't what I have to gear up for, it is finding the motivation to do it at very inconvenient and awkward times that I need to be able to handle. I love my kids more than anything in this universe other than Mike, but if I could just have this one me thing work out I will cry with happiness.

16 comments:

Tia Juana said...

OH! Boy oh Boy you are so cool! I am so excited for you that I could cry - even though you know that running makes me cry too, but for very different reasons. I am so proud of you and this ambitious goal! It will be yours and I will cheer for you the whole way!

Tia Juana said...

OH, and if we were neighbors I would volunteer to babysit for you at any darn time you wanted to run. You should tell your neighbors all about your blog so they will read this and feel the need to help you achieve this great goal. But perhaps they are a little apprehensive about helping the drug house people.

Karen said...

Nancy, how exciting....I would be happy to help. We'll talk this week.

Gracie J said...

I have to comment on this. If anyone can do it, you definitely can. I think you forgot to point out that I no longer live along your Polk running route, so if you have to stop and go to the bathroom, you may need to find the nearest tree instead. :) If you end up going to Boston, I want to come along (for real).

Ashley said...

How funny. All yesterday and today, I've been feeling like, "I should call Nancy Pants and tell her that I'm sure we can work out something where I watch her kids while she runs..." and then here's this post! Ca-razy. But seriously, why couldn't I come over each morning for an hour or however long (I only say hour because I can't IMAGINE someone wanting to run longer than that, but whatever you need...) so that my kind and wonderful aunt can train for something truly cool? Call me. We'll work something out. Maybe Israel knew you needed this too, because the past two mornings he's gone from a like 8:15ish wake time to a flippin' 6:00 wake time. Guess he's training me. Anywho, we'll talk. Love you, Nanners.

Amy said...

Hey and I won't be the least helpful in tending your kids, (well I would, I just mean it is probably a pain with us living soooo far apart.) But I would be happy to ditch my running girls on a Friday or Saturday morning to join you on a long run. I ran 10 Saturday but with lots of hills. But I am sure I was slow, but when you're not doing speed work, I'm your girl.
Amy

Marzee said...

Oh Nancy - I so get it. SOOOO get it!!! I've been going through the same thing for the past year, especially in the last couple of months. Yes, the hardest part is sticking it out - doing it at all of those INCONVENIENT times - making time, making it work for you. It's soooo hard. And it's so hard to do it without feeling bad about neglecting something else.

You can do it!!! I really like your idea of getting up early to get your run in. I've realized that I need to do similarly with studies and such, because I've recently felt that I'm not doing the job I should be of "Mom". I need to pursue my goals and dreams on my own time and not theirs. So when is my time? Hmmm - the time I sleep seems most appropriate - hence, the early morning alternative.

You're awesome. I look forward to hear about your progress, your struggles, your triumphs, and your wise insights. You inspire me. Go for it Nancypants!!!!

Perla said...

you can do it. you can do it!

Mugsy said...

All I could think of was my triumphant five miles I ran yesterday and now I am like...boooooo.....If I could just be off pushing myself to run with you. I do think that not making those teams were a blessing in disquise for sure. Remember I made the tennis team but coach Benson told me in disgust that I was one of the worse on the team. I was all bummed and luckily you had me come run with you. What a life change it is. I love you sister and hope the Boston Marathon is burning bright in your near future. tough picture by the way.

Mugsy said...

Uh hello....I think you will agree when i say Ashley is the freakin BOMB!!!! She is always like, "I will do it....no big deal" and offering and all that jazz. She is so my fav! O and all you other neices are too.... BUt Ashley you ROCK!!!

Mugsy said...

Amy still no picture....AHHHHHH

jocelyn said...

you will do it for sure. i have to say that even though i was maybe only 8 or 9 when you girls were in high school i do remember my dad talking about how you ran cross country with jessica. i think he always felt shafted that none of his girls liked to run (or more like hate to run). so remember, next time you're running that terry jones thinks it's the cats pajamas.

Crysta said...

You can do it Nancy . . .but after all your "positive" comments I just have to say don't stress out if it doesn't happen. For me personally I had to lay off a little. My baby just started sleeping through the night and this training takes up 1/2 your day sometimes. I was finding that running was taking over EVERYTHING and it was hurting my family. I was always exausted and my house had taken a toll. I decided this year I am just doing it for fun and to attempt to get in some sort of shape. So I have cut back a little. Maybe one day I will become a serious runner. You ALLRED's are runners though, and you running marathon's pregnant???? So you can probably pull this off. Just don't stress out about it. It was good to see you at the reception and when I saw you running the next day . . .what a babe! I got a little jealous that your 5th child didn't seem to change your high school body . . .what's up with that :)

Lara said...

Nancy, I have followed your blog for quite awhile now. I loved your RS lessons in the 23rd ward and still gain so much from what you have to say(or teach). Anyway, I lived in Boston for 8 years. Many of those years I stood by sidelines cheering runners on, especially those with Utah hats or logos. They would look up at us, smile, gain a little energy, and keep going knowing someone picked them out of so many. Its such an inspiring race. Heartbreak hills through Newton are tough but not impossible. I know you could do it, and I would be cheering you on from here. I have an awesome story about mile 25. Maybe I will tell it before you go. Do it!

Lara Waite

Nancy said...

Thanks everyone! All your encouragement has me . . . well, encouraged!

Jocelyn, Yes, I'd nearly forgotten I had a fan in Terry!

Lara! I'm so glad you left a comment. I had no idea you were ever here! And, I don't ever recall knowing that your lived in Boston for so long. I don't know anyone who has seen the Boston and would love to hear more about it!! I miss seeing your darling blondies in church and imagine they would shock me by how much older they have assuredly gone and gotten in almost 4 years!!

BS and the Kids said...

Nancy,
I don't know why your posts haven't been showing up on my blog but I have missed so much, especially the one of Jesse in his cute striped pj's that almost don't fit him and it is 6-9 mo. I told you! Anyway, you inspire me. I can't believe you are already considering this. The ONE half marathon I trained for about killed me and you are thinking of doing 2 FULL marathons in one year. Good for you. You can do it. You run way too fast for me. It is hard to get up early, but just think, you can take a mid afternoon nap, just put a little show on for the kids. Never hurt anyone!

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